My Issue With Bernie Sanders

 

When it came time to cast vote in the Texas primary I made it no secret that I was voting for Bernie Sanders. This wasn’t out of some attempt to say Hillary wasn’t good enough, in fact she was easily more qualified on paper and I was pretty sure she would be our next president or, at the very least, that she would win the nomination.

We expected a run between Jeb and Hillary. Those were the people that the parties wanted to support going in and I can’t really remember if Jeb was still in the race by the time it came our turn to send the conventions our pick for candidates.

But I liked what I heard about Sanders and what he was saying. I thought that his ideas deserved some looking at and I thought that, maybe without the racist sentiment that haunted Obama we could sustain some of the policies that had managed to come out of the last presidency and build on to them. We had fought pretty hard for healthcare and equal rights over the last eight years, after all.

Looking back over the nine months since the inauguration of Trump and seeing the split in the Democratic Party, I’m willing to admit that I was wrong. The different things about Sanders that keep piling up at best make him out to be someone who kind of wants to fight some of the good fight, but that’s okay with those who support him engaging in terrible stuff to get there. At worst he’s actually a sheep in wolf’s clothing that attempted to use the Democratic Party as a stepping stone to build his own party with a platform of some progressive policies. I say “some” like that because his calling Planned Parenthood part of the “establishment” and his endorsement of an anti-abortion candidate paint him as a little less on the progressive end of the spectrum when it comes to women’s issues. Which is what brought this whole thing up because he is the opening speaker at the Women’s March and people are asking why.

Back in late November he also slammed what he called “identity politics” (which is a phrase I take a bit of issue with — more on that later). On Twitter and Facebook whenever there is a discussion about politics there’s no shortage of people popping up to tell you how Sanders speaks for them, even when they claim to fall under the umbrella of policies that he seems to be willing to shed in order to look more appealing.

There in-fighting that plagues the Democratic Party right now boils down to a fight about what happened. Hillary Clinton, a woman who has been in the political spotlight almost all my life, lost an election that she shouldn’t have. Some people think Bernie would have stood a better chance, even though Bernie didn’t win the primaries, even if he was pulling votes from people on the fence about Trump. The fact of the matter is that if you asked me who Bernie Sanders was in 2014 I wouldn’t know who the Hell you were talking about. Clinton has put in the work over the years trying to get healthcare reform, working at the national and state levels of government and more often than not pushing for policies that I agree with and that a lot of people seem to agree with in the Democratic Party. Most of the hate for her extends from leftover ammunition that was loaded into the gun of the Right Wing political machine that has only grown more nefarious with the rise of Breitbart and the proliferation of Fox News.

Bernie Sanders might not have loaded that gun himself, but he used it as cover fire where he could. He drew from their playbook in criticizing Clinton and when things didn’t go his way he attempted to march on Washington. He’s even attempted to hijack the party itself, a party that he really isn’t part of. He’s stolen the spotlight from Randall Woodfin, a black mayoral candidate that won an election in the Deep South who was a Hillary supporter and who ran a pretty successful campaign before Sanders’ group’s involvement. Overall Sanders backed candidates are losing, but you wouldn’t know that from the sound of things in the media. It’s like Sanders can do no wrong.

Another part of my problem with Sanders is the tone of some of the support he gets. It seems like some of it comes from alt-right types that just couldn’t get behind the blatant idiocy of Trump. You see a bit of that Gamer-Gate-Intellectual-Atheist crowd showing up to debate about free speech without seeming to realize that free speech doesn’t mean what they think. People who punch actual Nazis in the face aren’t violating the first amendment. And angry that people protest “anti-identity politics” speakers on college campuses aren’t either no matter what fucking Bill Maher says.

Well, there’s the problem. Identity politics is a conservative issue too. When you look at the fight over Confederate statues that’s tied to a racial identity in the South that has huge roots reaching back to slavery, the Jim Crow era, and the Civil Rights era. The Christian identity of the country is another hot button issue for conservatives. So this idea that it’s impossible to win elections when drawing praise from these things just doesn’t hold water. One entire political party does it and the parts of that party that don’t identify with those things ignore the parts they don’t like.

I don’t think Sanders deserved the nomination and I don’t think that he could have won. I don’t have any solid proof of that, but neither do the people claiming he would have coasted to victory. This country is racist enough against Jews that even we denied them Visas during WWII and it’s still racist enough that there’s never been a Jewish president and you can still find countless people peddling bullshit theories about the Jews doing evil things. A guy at Starbucks came up and started talking to me about Jewish mind control. That’s not even a rare thing.

And I don’t blame Sanders for the entire election loss. There is a lot things that went wrong including voter suppression, Russian intervention in the process and propaganda, and Hillary’s own decisions to campaign in certain places over others. But I do believe that Sanders being slow to back her and his march on Washington during the DNC had some affect and I think that now his attempt to gain popularity runs the risk of costing Democrats the 2018 mid-term and the possibility of Trump getting elected to a second term.

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Scared For The Future of My Country

I’ve been stressed. I stopped by Wendy’s earlier and couldn’t finish a medium meal, which is not normal for me. Sleep is hard to come by and in the mornings I’m awake but don’t want to get up.

I lay in bed on my phone talking to friends and trying to avoid the bad news on sites like Reddit or Facebook. I throw on the MBMBAM podcast, but part of the way through I realized I’ve zoned out and don’t know what they’re laughing at. I missed the entirety of the last goof.

Work is surprising in that it is calming. No one really brings up the outside issues there and not many people really talk to me. I kind of like it that way. But the fact of the matter is it’s an election year and the things coming out of this election are causing me to be really afraid for my country.

Think that a few years ago a statement about binders of women or a weird scream was enough to get you flack. I miss the days of Bush and Romney when I look at the candidate that people have chosen to support.

There’s such an undercurrent of hatred in this election and the odd thing is that the guy stirring it up is somehow saying he’s the victim. He’s calling Mexicans rapists and bragging about sexual assault. He’s saying he wants to bring back unconstitutional stop and frisk laws and that he wants to default on our debt (which puts the world economy at risk). He’s asking why we don’t use nukes more often.

Notice I didn’t cite any of that. Mostly because it doesn’t matter. I’m on a phone and I won’t waste my time making the buggy copy paste system work for people who either know all that already or refuse to believe it. Even though it’s fact. It’s recorded that Trump has said these things; we’ve become anti-fact.

And the thing is what he’s taken advantage of scares me as much as Trump, because it will continue win or lose. There’s not really a chance for a conversation with people who are threatening to commit acts of terror against foreigners or “grab their musket” if they don’t get their way.

I’m thinking maybe America isn’t the place for me and a lot of people seem to not want people like me here. I’m thinking maybe this doesn’t get better after this.

Since people question my personhood still of ponder the idea of women not being able to vote can we really even say that we tried?

South Park and Choosing to Care

I was a late comer to the South Park train. While a lot of kids were watching it all the way back in ’97,  I was aware of the show, but never seemed to see it. Comedy was a big part of my life growing up, though. I remember watching things like Mystery Science Theater on Comedy Central late at night and Comic View on BET when I happened to be over at my sister’s late enough.

I had a healthy appetite for comedy.

South Park was edited and aired in syndication around the time I was in high school, I think. By then I was old enough to get a lot of the jokes and the movie had come to cable, which I had seen a few times. I had a South Park shirt and considered myself a fan of the show. I thought the guys writing it ‘got me’–that they were the kind of guys I wanted to be like. I didn’t just want to not care on a personal, emotional level. Not caring needed to be the default reaction when faced with almost anything.

When you’re fifteen or sixteen it’s easy to see how this world view applies to you. It’s hard to find somewhere to fit in and when you’re already attending a school where graduating classes numbered under fifty students there was a good chance that you might not have the friend group that even outcasts had at bigger schools. Not caring seemed like a good way to deal with the pressure. What you don’t care about can’t hurt you.

South Park takes that to a deeper level. It poked fun at everyone, a thing I once greatly respected. It reinforced my notions about the world, or it reinforced the notions that I figured I should have: gays are weird and okay, as long as they’re not hurting anyone, but you’re not doing any disservice by calling people faggots as an insult. The younger generation is past racism completely, so all that’s left is to let all of the older people die off (there’s no way that racism is still really affecting us!). The choice between Presidential candidates means nothing, they’re both horrible.

From about ages fourteen to twenty I probably held some version of these beliefs and others that lined right up with the show. I didn’t mind when they took aim at targets that I cared about or liked or believed in. It was okay because they were making fun of EVERYONE, right?

As long as you’re indiscriminate in your fun poking, what’s the harm?

Fast forward to I’m thirty and I still love comedy. I still can’t get enough crude humor as evidence by being able to quote Louis CK and Hannibal Burress’s albums like scripture. Until a few months ago I thought South Park had been canceled. No one had mentioned the show in years around me (probably a testament to having friends that are ‘keepers’).

The internet was set on fire by this past years South Park seasonal target. PC culture, the new boogeyman of the Alt-Right, Brocialists, and just your garden variety bigot. This isn’t to say that there isn’t problems with hard-left liberalism, but to hear some people talk about it liberals are to blame for terrorism, the break down of the American family, and pretty much everything else under the sun.

To see South Park make season long antagonists out of PC culture seems less like the brave thing that people always claim that the show is and more like the expected thing for an audience that grew up watching the show. A lot of them became the adamant Bernie Sanders supporters that refer to Hillary Clinton as ‘a cunt’ every chance they get and don’t understand why it’s sexist (and unwarranted). They are the ones who refuse to look at race, sexual orientation, or gender even when it’s undeniably a factor (Elliot Rodger shooting, for instance).

I was a lot more moderate the right leaning when I started watching the show and I would say that I was more easily offended back then.  Me now still has a bit of that don’t care attitude. But I care when it counts. I care when you’re selling me a value system that’s flat out wrong and trying to reinforce views that don’t really work.

Yeah, it’s just a show. South Park isn’t the news or some politically commentary, except that it’s being used that way this past season and people have cited it before in the past to refer to their views. There are still some moments from the show that I can relate to, everyone expecting me to just like Family Guy because of my sense of humor (spoiler alert, I’ve hated Family Guy for almost the entirety of it’s run), but I think that I outgrew South Park years ago. I’m kind of glad that I did.

Some things are important to me and I don’t see that as a fault. Equal representation of all races and genders (at least in the sense of how they’re portrayed, because not all situations would have all types of people there) is important to me. Caring about politics is important to me, being well informed, and who gets elected is all important to me. PC culture isn’t such a dangerous thing that you need to go on about it for thirteen episodes or how ever long their seasons are.

And yeah, maybe the nearly one thousand words I spent on this was too much care, but I think it extends to more than South Park. And more importantly, it’s something that is relevant, because we live in a world where people actually don’t care enough.

Election Eve Observation

For those of you that don’t know I’m not a fan of Shakespeare. I don’t worship him like most writers seem to. Though I will give him where credit is due and I don’t hesitate to use his writing as an example in political debates. this is a short excerpt of a post I made on a forum the other day. I needed to fill my “post something for the day” quota and I felt this might fit here.

A lot of the qualification that is happening seems to be that Romney is “the white guy”. People are saying shit like he looks more presidential, he made that comment about no one needing to ask him for his birth certificate, and the whole election seems like Othello playing out in real life. Here’s this black guy that his enemy can’t even give straight reasons for hating and they keep changing their narrative and at the end of the day the only real reason that he’s hated so much is because he’s the Moor, an outsider, the black guy.

No one wants to be accused of being so openly racist, but there’s a very thin veil over it. Those who don’t realize it and who are weaker willed are bombarded with stories of Obama being an outsider and it really started during the last election. Things are being said that would never be said of a white candidate and really I think that if there was any doubt how much a problem racism is in this country, Obama’s presidency should be proof that it still is.

I Voted Today

I voted today, but after voting I took this quiz. It shocked even me. Basically I went to Isidewith.com and here are the results.

ISideWith